By: Miranda Daniloff
Nothing says thank you like homemade. A hostess gift is a thoughtful way to acknowledge the effort of your host or hostess to prepare the party or holiday.
First: Consider your talents. Are you crafty? Are you a baker? Good with graphics? If you routinely burn your brownies, you may want to consider a crafty option.
1. Baked Bread
Quick breads are a good alternative to yeast breads — which require several hours to rise. This is a base recipe. Adapt with various ingredients to make it sweet or savoury. This is enough for a small loaf pan.
375 mL (1 1/2 cups) flour
5 mL (1 tsp) baking powder
2 mL (1/2 tsp) kosher salt
2 eggs (or egg replacement)
250 mL (1 cup) buttermilk
50 mL (1/4 cup) oil or liquid fat
- Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F)
- Lightly oil a loaf pan or muffin tins and set aside
- In a large bowl stir together flour, salt, and baking powder
- In another bowl, lightly whisk together the eggs, oil, and milk
- Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together until combined
- Bake at 180 C (350 F) for about 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle
Add-ins: Pumpkin puree, zucchini, banana, apple sauce, cranberries, nuts and dried fruit.
Wrap your freshly baked bread in an apron and tie a ribbon or twine around it to complete the gift.
Tip: Pair your bread with a jar of specialty jam, marmalade, chutney or high-end olive oil. You can wrap together by rolling the jar inside the apron. Make sure that you’ve secured the package ends so that the jar doesn’t roll out.
2. Hot Cocoa Mix in a Mug
You'll need a large mug, hot cocoa mix, mini marshmallows, mini chocolate chips, a decorative spoon (optional) and small plastic bags. Put cocoa, marshmallows and chocolate chips in three separate bags. Tie a festive ribbon around each. Once assembled, place the three bags and the spoon into the mug. Create a whole package with cellophane tied with a ribbon.
3. Pretty Candle
You'll need a pillar candle, a white doily and double-sided tape. Fold the doily in half. Wrap it around the base of the candle, the straight edge flush to the candle bottom. Secure with double sided tape. This works well with a candle that is a bright colour as it will peek through the doily for a festive look.
Creative Packaging is Key
- Buy ribbons at your local fabric or crafting store. There are lots of choices beyond curling ribbon, such as chiffon, organza or grosgrain.
- Tie up packaging with a decorative scarf, raffia or yarn. Attach feathers, silk flowers or even a dipped pinecone for a fanciful touch.
- Coloured cellophane is a flexible material to wrap up a gift.
- Use go-to containers such as baskets, decorative paper boxes and gift bags.
- Don’t overlook thrift shops, garage and estate sales to find one-of-kind items, such as pottery, decorative tins or unique glass containers.
Holidays are for celebrating with family and friends. Homemade gifts are a special way to say thank you.
Do you have an easy hostess gift to share? Tell the community in the comments below!